To tell you what a good read this book was, keep in mind that I read it in a day and a half in a week I didn’t have any time to read in. It was a fast read; it was an engaging read–I couldn’t wait to get back to it; and it was an informative, actually educational ,read. And, all this in a novel!
This 2016 publication by Ann Hood includes everything I enjoy in a novel: It was about a book club; it was about a middle age woman whose husband was a cad; it was about friendship and was character driven. The characters, both major and minor are vividly depicted, and the reader cares about each one. The relationships dissected were mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, and friends and lovers–which all make good reading.
To quote one critic, the novel is a “celebration of all that books awaken within us: joy, love, wisdom, loss, and solace.” There are enough twists and turns to satisfy even this reader who demands them, and Hood is a natural storyteller. It is a book for book clubs, specifically and book lovers, generally.
A bonus in the novel is the description of year’s worth of the book club’s discussions on the selections of the year’s theme, “The book that matters most to me”, some of which I had not read. The books discussed (linked to the characters who chose them) are: Pride and Prejudice, The Great Gatsby, Anna Karrenina, One Hundred Years of Solitude, To Kill a Mockingbird, Catcher in the Rye, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, and Slaughterhouse Five. The mystery and revelation involved in the protagonist’s choice is a wonderful “touch,” leaving a twist for the last few pages.
This is an exceptionally satisfying read, stuffed full of the “good stuff” that makes us choose novels as well as a book you will enjoy on many levels.